--- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, "Mark E. Shoulson" <mark@...> wrote:
> John Cowan wrote:
> >Peter T. Daniels scripsit:
> >
> >
> >
> >>>So Arabic, Hebrew, Syriac are not abjads?
> >>>
> >>>
> >>Unvocalized, they are. Add the points, and they're alphabets.
> >>
> >>
> >
> >Most modern Arabic and Hebrew texts, however, are neither fully
> >nor fully unpointed: rather, they are strategically pointed with
> >lectionis.
> >
> >
> Even worse, they are strategically pointed with occasional actual
> vowel-points and not matres. That is, you'll often see a word
with a
> single letter vowel-pointed, for the simple reason that it could
> misunderstood, even with all the possible matres in place.

This is how many people 'point' Cree also, strategically, I like
that. But then in the 80's some of the linguists said, "Cree is a
mixed alphabetic and syllabic system and phonographic, the same type
as the alphabet. Whatever is true of the alphabet is true of the
syllabary" Then they wanted a complete round trip transcription to
and from English, but the Cree didn't like the look of it. "What
are all those dots?" they said.
> It's a little strange to me that one would classify writing
systems such
> that the basic category of a system changes like this, adding
> diacritics. I mean, yes, you can define anything you like, but
such an
> unstable system starts to lose its usefulness. Whatever Hebrew
is, it
> makes more sense to classify it the same whether or not it's
> Is the inherent vowel so crucial and novel a feature that it's
> inventing an entire category for it? Apart from that, there isn't
> difference between a devanagari-style alphabet and a Hebrew-style
> (well, the fact that devanagari vowels also have full-letter
forms, I
> guess is the main one). And even in devanagari, lack of vowel or
> consonant cluster isn't always indicated by virama or ligaturing,
> Hindi, anyway. (Since I only learned Sanskrit, where the
inherent "a"
> vowel is strictly observed, that always throws me when trying to
> out Hindi, in which the inherent "a" is often--but not always--
> from what I've heard).

Same in Cree and Tamil, it depends on stress. The vowel can
disappear without bothering to use a virama/pulli/ or Cree final
(which are not only differentiated by size but can be a whole
different set of smaller symbols. The same symbols only smaller
seems to be a modern phenomena.)

> ~mark